Below are different ways to approach your reporting manager to get him to give you an honest feedback, thereby helping yourself to improve your performance at work.
In the earlier article, we saw how three youngsters approached their feedback sessions (refer to the article published on 2014/03/08) with their managers. While there is no one particular way of receiving feedback, there are certainly some dos and don’ts for the receiver.
Here are some tips to get the best out of your feedback sessions.
Ask for feedback: Feedback sessions are usually scheduled as part of the performance appraisal discussions. Depending upon your company policy, it may take place once or twice a year. These are formal sessions and driven by the process. However, it is often said that real feedback is given only when asked for. If you take initiative and request for a session with your manager and not wait for the appraisal discussion, he/she is likely to see it as a professional move.
Do not be defensive: To get the best out of the feedback sessions, it is important to be open and not defensive. It is true that when your manager high lights some shortcoming in you, you tend to explain and defend your position. In such cases, one may resort to justification and not allow further scope for development. Another behavior that we get to see among those who are defensive is that of blaming. They end up placing the blame on others and do not own up their mistakes. It will convert the feedback session into an argument. Therefore, it is important to shed the defenses and allow the comments.
Listen and reflect: Best way to express your openness for feedback is to listen attentively. A participative listening by asking for more insights and confirming your understanding with your manager is an excellent way to listen. Taking notes during the discussion will surely improve your listening even further. Continue your listening with deeper reflection to process mentally what you heard from your manager. Such reflection will help you in working out a development plan.
Do not take it personally: Most common mistake that people commit is to take the feedback on performance too personally. They generalize the comments from the manager. If your manager commented about last week’s presentation and suggested you to improve, it is better for you to limit the comment to last week’s event only instead of worrying if you are a bad presenter. Also, remember that feedback often is a perception; therefore, it is important to listen unconditionally and then select which areas you are convinced about.
Do seek help: Listening to feedback as a formality and not knowing what to do with that will not help anyone. As part of the feedback session, it is perfectly fine to ask for help in improving in certain areas. Best way to put forth the request is to concur with the feedback and express your interest to work on it. In the process, you can seek support of your manager; ask for training or any other assistance towards improvement.
Demonstrate positivity: If you have a negative outlook towards feedback sessions, you may tend to avoid it. Instead, try expressing child-like enthusiasm and keenness to learn and improve; it helps in many ways. Firstly, it creates a positive impression of you in the eyes of your manager; secondly, it will make it more fun and less of a burden for you.
This article was published in:
HR Mirror, Hans India
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